The Odd, Little Happy

Finally I dance with confidence to songs

Adding a Shutoff Valve to a Mobile Home Toilet

Posted by theBarefoot on November 11, 2015

Part of retiling the master bath in our mobile home required removing the toilet. When I put it back in place, Murphy’s Law kicked in and of course it was leaking from behind the nut on the supply line at the tank inlet. Since none of the plumbing fixtures, like most mobile homes, have shutoff valves, a leak or repair requires the water main be turned off. This cuts the water to the entire trailer. It’s a bother. I devised a plan to not only repair the leaky toilet, but install a shutoff valve. It’s easy, requires only two parts, and takes less than 20 minutes.

If you have standard 1/2″ flexible piping, you’ll need a 1/2″x5/8″ compression-fitted shutoff valve (~$9.00)

Compression valve.

Compression valve.

and a standard 3/8″ toilet tank supply line  (~$4.50).

Standard toilet supply line.

Standard toilet supply line.

If you don’t have any pipe tape, you’ll need to grab some of that when getting your other parts. For tools you simply need a sharp knife or heavy shears, a crescent wrench, and a rag or paper towels. The rags are optional, but you will spill water and need to mop it up somehow.

  1. Shut off the water main. (see below if you’re not sure which position is off.)
  2. Flush the toilet and soak up the little water left in the tank. If there’s a lot, use a cup to empty it into the bowl.
  3. Disconnect the tank supply line by unscrewing the nut at the base of the tank. A little water is still going to be in the pipe, but it won’t be under pressure.
  4. With your knife or shears cut the 1/2″ supply line below the existing nut. Get your cut as straight as possible and be sure to leave enough pipe to work with. Hint: You can leave it long and push it back into the floor to shorten it when you’re all done.
  5. Insert the supply line into the 5/8″ (larger) side of the shutoff valve and hand tighten.
  6. Loosen the nut you just tightened and remove the valve.
  7. When the nut slides down the supply hose, you will see the compression ring stuck on the hose about an inch from the end. If you don’t see the ring, pull the nut back up and reconnect the valve. This time, tighten it about a half-turn with your wrench, then remove it.
  8. Wrap the compression ring and the end of the supply line with pipe tape. Don’t skip this step!
  9. Reattach the shutoff valve and tighten the nut tightly using your crescent wrench. You’ll need to hold the valve to tighten it well.
  10. Turn the valve handle perpendicular (crossways) to the valve and turn the water main back on to check for leaks. (If it’s leaking, you probably didn’t put on the pipe tape like I told you in step 7.)
  11. If it’s not leaking, remove the small nut and compression ring from the other end of the valve. You won’t need them.
  12. Wrap the threads of the valve outlet (the end where you just removed the small nut) with pipe tape.
  13. Screw the new, standard 3/8″ supply line onto the valve.
  14. Screw the other end of the new line onto the tank’s inlet.
  15. Open the valve by turning the handle 1/4 turn so it is inline with the valve.
  16. Check for leaks.
  17. Listen to the tank fill while you clean up the little bit of water that spilled out of the supply line when you disconnected it to start all this.

If you don’t know how valves work, just remember that turning the valve handle so it crosses the pipe (perpendicular) closes the valve. Think of it as a dam across a river. Turning it parallel to the pipe opens the valve. Take this opportunity to put caulk in the hole where the supply line comes in.

Whether you’re doing this to fix a leak or just to add a shutoff valve to your toilet, you’ll find it’s a quick, easy, inexpensive fix.

Newly installed toilet tank hose and shutoff valve.

Newly installed toilet tank hose and shutoff valve.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

Posted in DIY, home improvement, home repair | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Camping Adventure 4.0 and 4.5: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Posted by theBarefoot on October 27, 2015

Our last adventure is in the book. We did something we haven’t done in a long time…take a full week off. Nine straight days of traveling, relaxing, shopping, and a little yard work thrown in to keep me grounded. We parked the rig at Harrison Bay State Park, just east of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It happens to be about 15 minutes from the park to my mother-in-law’s house, which was the real purpose for picking that location and where the yard work came in. For the cost of one night in a nice hotel, we got to stay for a week at Harrison Bay. I shot some video of the 3 RV campgrounds at the park (Campground A, Campground B, Campground C) and rattled on about some of park amenities while shooting.

Once our time was up, we hauled the trailer down the road to Shar’s mom’s house and I somehow got it backed down a very long driveway, through an 11-foot-wide gate, and parked it perfectly at the end of the driveway in the backyard. I dropped the trailer and headed back home and back to work while Shar stayed another week.

This was only possible because of three improvements we made. First, I repossessed a 10-gauge extension cord from my oldest daughter. That gave us enough juice to run the AC on just 20A/120V household current. Second, there are no dump stations between my mother’s-in-law house and our house so I ordered a Valterra Sewer Solution which was waiting on the stoop when we got back. After a tip to Lowe’s for some 1-inch PVC pipe and fittings, I assembled and extension to connect the Sewer Solution to our house sewer connection. 15 minutes later, the black tank was empty. One back flush later, it was almost as clean as the day it was installed.

The third improvement was a simple oil change for the truck. We’re pushing the tow limit of our F-150 with just the trailer and our stuff. Having a week’s worth of black tank to haul was going to be a challenge. Prior to leaving, I had a high-mileage, all-synthetic, 5W-20 motor oil put in the engine. It made a huge difference in the towing performance. On trip number 3, I was revving at 2900rpm in 4th gear to stay at 60mph. On this outing, we slipped over to 5th gear with ease and even 6th gear, once or twice. Doing 65mph was no problem and hills were much easier to climb. If you’re doing any kind of towing, I highly recommend you run a good oil and have it changed to keep up with your towing habits, not just at the standard mileage recommendation.

Camping buddy Shakespeare is a fan of glamping.

Camping buddy Shakespeare is a fan of glamping.

So adventure 4 and 4.5 are done. November is lined-up with lots of work on our mobile home to get it ready for the youngest to move in. The oldest daughter has had it for 5 years now and they’re moving 2 hours away for her husband’s job. There is carpet to pull and new flooring to put down. Pray for my back and knees. Adventure 5 isn’t planned, yet, but it will probably be in the late Winter or early Spring.

In the meantime,
Camp safe & keep chasing the odd, little happy.

Posted in camping, holiday, RVing, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

This Is Why I Need Medication

Posted by theBarefoot on October 21, 2015

I wanted to write a post about our recent stay at Harrison Bay State Park near Chattanooga, Tennessee. We had a lovely time, but the write-up will have to wait because I had to deal with the local utility company today. This is why I take blood pressure medicine.

Essentially, I needed to have a utility bill forwarded. My daughter and son-in-law are moving to a town a couple hours away and leaving our mobile home empty. I wanted to transfer the account and have the bill sent to my house so there wouldn’t be a break in service. There’s some work to do before my other daughter moves into the trailer in December.

So I called Huntsville (Alabama) Utilities. After 12 minutes on hold, they informed me they can’t do that “over the phone,” but I can do it online. I set up web access to their site easily enough, only to discover there really isn’t an option to do what I need done. The closest thing is to use their “Move In” option. I get almost to the end of the handful of screens to discover they want my bank account information so they can charge me $70.

$70! That’s hella expensive mail forwarding. Plus, I had to lie on their form and say the breakers were all turned off. Their form assumes someone is going to actually connect service. This isn’t the case. No one has to do anything. Two computers simply need to talk to each other and change the name and billing address for the mobile home…and that costs 70 freakin’ US dollars!

I’m having anxiety about this whole deal, too. I just know some technician is going to show up and disconnect service at my house thinking I’m moving.

I told the guy on the phone, “It’s good to be a monopoly and not need to be responsive to your customer’s wants and needs.” No option to pay by credit card. Only bank drafts are accepted like it’s the Middle Ages. I guess I’m lucky there was even an online option and I didn’t have to schlep downtown and fill out a paper check or pay in beaver pelts and sexual favors, though, I do feel like I got screwed.

Ride 'em cowgirl style.

Ride ’em cowgirl style.

Thanks Huntsville Utilities for keeping Big Pharma in business. I have refills for my blood pressure meds waiting at the pharmacy and I’ll see my doctor about that rash. You should have yourself checkout, too. By law, I think you have to tell the next person you fuck that we’re sexually active, even though we’re obviously not exclusive, you promiscuous whore.

Posted in Household, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Camping Adventure 3: Lake Guntersville and Beyond

Posted by theBarefoot on August 17, 2015

We got back from a 4-night stay at Lake Guntersville Alabama State Park about 4 hours ago. Coming back is always the most exhausting part of the trip. Not only do you have to dump, prep for travel, hitch up, and double-check that you didn’t leave anything behind, you have to do it all in a fairly short window. No taking a couple of days to pack like you do before leaving home. So I’m sore, tired, and still have to clean the camper, do the laundry, and make sure we’re ready for our next adventure.

Slow Moving Vehicle

Slow Moving Vehicle

We’ve already made plans for a week’s stay at Harrison Bay Tennessee State Park. It’s about 15 minutes from there to my mother’s-in-law house (that looks weird, but it is grammatically correct). She has a full house and no beds for company. Our visits up until now have always been long weekends because we had to get a hotel room or stay at a beautiful bed-and-breakfast called The Mayor’s Mansion. Don’t get me wrong. I love B-&-B’s, but they’re not economically feasible for an extended stay. Having the camper allows us to stay the week on the cheap. Most state parks are less than $30 per night and that includes water and electricity. Just one more reason we’re loving the RV life.

I’m still wishing we’d bought a larger truck. The F-150 we got just barely does the job. We have to watch our weight because, at 5,500 lbs. (~2,500 kg), the camper only gives us about 600 lbs. (272 kg.) of wiggle room before we are at the F-150’s maximum towing capacity of 6,100 lbs. (2,767 kg.) There’s no hope of driving with a full water tank for a boondocking adventure. It’s enough of a struggle to just get to the campground dump station when the black and gray tanks are full. When we go to Chattanooga, TN, we plan on shopping for food once we’re there. No since in weighing down the camper with food to haul since we’ll practically be in town.

Mountains are another issue. We did pretty well on Monte Sano Mountain and whatever the name of that mountain east of Guntersville is. The thing that concerns me is we stay in 4th gear at about 2,900 rpm just to do 60 mph (95 kph) on fairly level highways. If the truck ever kicks over to 5th gear, the best we can do is about 55 mph (88 kph). That’s going to take a toll on the engine and I’ll need to get more than the recommended service on the truck. Tackling the Appalachians and the base of Lookout Mountain will be interesting, to say the least, especially since everyone on I-24 drives at eleventy-bazzillion miles per hour (I’m unsure what that is in metric). I think I should get a “slow moving vehicle” triangle for the camper. Not that it would keep the 18-wheelers off our tail. When they pass, they rock your world, literally.

We’re getting better and better at chasing the odd, little happy.

P.S. We shot a couple of videos while at Lake Guntersville. Come by We’re Fixin’ To Camp on Youtube and check them out.

Posted in camping, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The New Adventure: Our New Travel Trailer

Posted by theBarefoot on August 10, 2015

We’ve had the new trailer for a couple of months now. We’ve been out twice. Our maiden voyage was to a nearby Alabama state park, Monte Sano. While there, I did an outside walk-around video (opens in new tab/window) of the camper. To be thorough, it’s a Forest River Coachmen Apex 269RBSS.  The dinette and couch are on a 166″ slideout that gives us about 40″ more space when out. IMAG0834The kitchen is on what I call a half-slideout because it extends the range and refrigerator about 2 feet, giving us room to walk around the island sink. The only downside to this configuration is stealth camping is impossible. Stealth camping, for those who don’t know, is where you spend the night without setting up completely. You don’t extend the slideouts or hook up utilities. It’s handy when you just need to pull over for the night in a Walmart parking lot. (Yeah, most Walmarts allow this.) With our slideouts in, it’s impossible to get to the bathroom in the back of the trailer or even access the air conditioner controls.

After our second outing, where we spent a week at Joe Wheeler state park, we did an inside walk-thru video (opens in new tab/window). We originally only intended to spend  3 or 4 days at Wheeler while a new home air conditioner was installed, but we kept extending our stay until we were there for 8 days. I had to commute the 70 minutes to work every day, but enjoyed coming home to our new home each night, mostly because the camper has a great air conditioner and it was July in North Alabama.

Please enjoy the videos linked above. We set up a new Youtube channel called We’re Fixin’ to Camp to house the record of our new adventure. I’d be honored if you subscribed. We’re trying to make helpful videos like this one about the camping facilities at Joe Wheeler. We already have two more trips planned. One will be a long weekend at Lake Guntersville state park. The other will be a week-long visit to Harrison Bay (TN) state park which is near my mother’s-in-law house. She doesn’t have room for us so our hotel-room-on-wheels is the perfect solution. We know it’s clean and bed-bug-free.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy and if you’d like, chase it with us on our new adventure.

Posted in camping, RVing, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The New Adventure & the Open Road

Posted by theBarefoot on July 15, 2015

We’ve done what many people our age do…joined the RV crowd. As empty-nesters, we decided that dragging a 30-foot trailer with us on our journeys was a good thing. I just wanted a pickup truck. Little did I know it came with a travel trailer.

We bought a Forest River Coachman 50th Anniversary Edition of their Apex 269RBSS model. There are bigger RVs out there, but it’s a monster to me since I’m the one who has to wrestle the thing down the highway.

We gave it some thought and decided to document our travels on a Youtube channel dedicated just to our new adventure. A video from our first outing is already up at We’re Fixin’ To Camp. Maybe you like it. Maybe you subscribe and watch us bumble our way into the woods and wilderness of America.

We’re chasing the odd, little happy in a little comfort and style.

Posted in camping, RVing, travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

An Open Letter to the Zale’s Corporation

Posted by theBarefoot on July 7, 2015

After I took my wife to a doctor’s appointment and had a nice lunch with my bride, we took the opportunity to retrieve some opal earrings that had recently come back to our local Zale’s from the repair shop. Here is what transpired and the email I sent to Zale’s via their website’s customer service form.

7 July 2015, just after noon,

I stopped by your Madison Square Mall, Huntsville, AL location to pick up a pair of repaired, opal earrings. A well-armed man working there, wearing a nice .45 caliber model 1911, ask me, per store policy, to return my sidearm to my car. What this says to me is that your company feels the need to protect its property, but once it is mine, you don’t feel that it needs the same protections. The most likely place I could be robbed is carrying a Zale’s bag from the store to my car, yet you feel that I should not have the same protection that your store has.

There’s no need to try to explain your no-guns policy to me. The simple fact is I don’t feel safe shopping at your stores now since I can’t protect my purchases in the same way you see fit to protect your merchandise. A brain-dead, no-thought, zero-tolerance, no-guns policy is ridiculous. I wasn’t suspiciously browsing. I presented my driver’s license as I greeted the sales associate. I happily would have shown your manager my license to legally carry a handgun if he had asked. I happily would have shown him my Zale’s credit card and he could have checked the substantial credit limit on it.

Instead, I was mindlessly asked to leave the store and return unarmed. I stepped outside the store, into the mall area and finished my transaction from there. A silly technicality, especially since the transaction required my signature, but I was unable to access the digital pad from the mall. I was given a paper alternative and left with my wife’s earrings.

I’m a long-time customer whom you’ve now alienated from your stores. The substantial credit line that you have extended me will now lie dormant.

Before you go off with “here’s another gun nut who wants to wave his gun in people’s faces,” you should know that I’m licensed to carry. I was carrying concealed, but recent weight loss tends to let my holster slip down with my pants so it shows a bit under my untucked shirt tail. My philosophy is along the lines of “love me, love my dog.” If you love my money, you’ll respect my choice to wear my sidearm, especially if you are doing the same.

This isn’t so much about my right to carry whenever, wherever I want. It’s about the idea that Zale’s feels the need to protect their merchandise with their 2nd Amendment rights, but would deny me the same option when their merchandise becomes my property. I didn’t bother telling Zale’s that last week I was in two banks where either the employees didn’t notice or didn’t care that I had a .357 on my hip.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy even if you have to shop elsewhere.

UPDATE (15 July 2015): Zale’s made no attempt to reply to my email. I guess that’s their standard procedure when confronted with this double standard. Goodbye, Zale’s. It’s been fun.

Posted in 2nd Amendment, Commerce, Rights | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Dashcam Chronicles: Illegal Passing

Posted by theBarefoot on May 27, 2015

I have a dashcam for several reasons. One, I’d like to have proof in court if I get a bogus traffic ticket. Two, it helps with insurance claims if there are questions about what happened. But, three, and the most important reason, it’s an endless source of entertainment and a record to just how idiotic people are when they drive.

Here’s the latest example of a driver who thought my wife pulled out a little to closely ahead of him on a 45 mph (~65kph) road. His little road rage tantrum manifests in a dangerous illegal pass (that’ll show her) only to be, you guessed it, stopped by the next traffic light with the person he just tried to run off the road.

But a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a million-word video that captured the event.

Keep chasing the odd, little, happy.

Posted in Autos, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

California Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines? Needles in Needles, CA.

Posted by theBarefoot on March 1, 2015

Today, let’s discuss one of the latest Facebook memes currently being spread by a particular subset of the site’s membership. The headline is California Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines, Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated” and it’s attributed to a site called (among others). You are more than encouraged to read the full article linked above. I’ll wait because I’m about to pick it apart and tell you why this is the largest load of horse manure you’ve seen since Biff ran into that truck in Back to the Future.

needleI’ll summarize for those in a hurry. It tells the tale of the Downing-Powers family of Needles, California whose 5.5 month-old son, Michael, died after being given too many vaccines. It seems he was taken late for his 4-month check-up, but too early for his 6-month, so the doctor decided to give him both sets of vaccinations in one sitting. Michael died, his body was cremated at the hospital, and the family was never given the coroner’s report as to the cause of death.

So why does this heartbreaking story deserve space on this blog? Because it’s pure, grade-A, fresh-from-the-field bullshit.

What is True?
Every good lie needs a coating of truth to make palatable. There is a White Pages entry for Downing-Powers on Elm Street in Needles, CA. The Colorado River Medical Center is indeed just a couple of blocks away. Those are the only two facts from the entire article I could verify.

Google Goggle
Google search results bring back only an incestuous circle-jerk of anti-vax and conspiracy sites all citing each other in a dubious round-robin of non-credible, slanted sources. The only non-anti-vax hits in the results are gullible, Facebook postings and dangerous, fund-raising campaigns.

In a Land Far, Far Away
There is no mention of the event in the local news. Searching the Mohave Valley Daily News site yields zero results. Where is the local media? If this story was about a coroner’s office stonewalling grieving parents, wouldn’t the first place they turned be the local media? However, if this is a concocted story meant to support anti-vax claims, why involve the locals? A local investigation would only torpedo the so-called facts. The lack of a local source for the story is glaring.

Follow the Money
There is more than one online fund-raising campaign for the family though they never appear to have asked for any money. The administration of these campaigns aren’t local to the Needles, CA area, either. One is based as far away as Virginia. I’m skeptical that any money donated will ever reach the Downing-Powers family.

While we’re on the money trail, where is the law suit? In a country were we sue dry cleaners for damaged pants, an egregious act such as this should have lawyers salivating to take the case. There is no mention of any legal action against the doctor, the hospital, or the coroner.

A Mother’s Plea
The section of the article claiming to be in the mother’s own words sounds nothing like a grieving parent. It is, however, sprinkled with cues and code words that are the hallmarks of anti-vax sites around the net.

For example, “After the shots, he didn’t have a fever or a low grade one.” Regardless of the awkward grammar, “low-grade fever” is often used by anti-vaxxers as proof that vaccines are not harmless.

“I started blaming my self and still do because I never took the time…” This is a typical reaction by parents when their child dies. It is also a carefully constructed sentence designed to appeal to parental guilt for having needles jabbed into their baby’s arm. It stands out as an obvious ploy to get fence-sitters to come down on the side of anti-vaccination.

“I went the doctor’s office recently and found out the nurse that injected Matthew is no longer working there. I was told she got fired because she didn’t know what she was doing when giving vaccines.” Wow! That doctor’s staff just violated about a dozen HIPAA and employment laws. Who in their right mind would tell a client such specific information about an employee’s firing, especially when it could be used to fuel an explosive, in not class-action, law suit? Besides, it’s not the nurse who decides what vaccines to give. The nurse only executes the injection authorized by the doctor. “She didn’t know what she was doing” only tells us she didn’t know how to perform an injection, something taught in year one of nursing school, and something even I have become quite adept at after assisting my wife with her home-health needs.

Much of the mother’s account is taken up with her exasperation over not getting the autopsy results. By law, coroner’s reports in California are public records. If the report exists (see #2, below), it is a simple thing to write, fax, or personally request these public records. The multiple, frustrated attempts to obtain the report make no sense unless we are being lead to believe there is a cover-up. (Spoiler alert: That’s exactly what we’re being lead to believe.) The article title already planted the seeds of conspiracy with “Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated.”

The final paragraphs, still written as if they are a plea from a grieving mother, switch gears too abruptly. They begin by urging people to fight pending state legislation and end with this clear, anti-vaxxer appeal “Why do mild cases involving the measles get reported all over the news, but not babies dying after getting the MMR shot or other vaccinations?” First, measles is not a mild disease. It kills 2.6 million people, mostly children, every year. It blinds, deafens, and cripples millions more. Second, the news doesn’t report death from vaccines because it rarely happens and they’re just not looking for it. Someone needs to bring it to their attention and, in this case, no one has. This poor woman has just indicted herself in the complacent cover-up of the silent vaccine killer conspiracy.

Other Red Flags

  1. No doctor would combine 4 and 6-month vaccines. That would be medical malpractice and no doctor would expose their business to being bankrupted by a law suit for such a blatantly illegal procedure.
  2. The infant’s death supposedly took place in October 2013. Sixteen months is a long time to wait before going public. It’s also just long enough for the coroner’s autopsy report to be archived off-line and not available on the San Bernardino Sheriff’s website.
  3. The article is laced with bad grammar and forced-fed with anti-vax slogans. Even the mother’s signature is wonky. “Love Your Momma, [line break] Crystal Downing-Powers.” That is an imperative statement, not a closing of a letter. It should rightly be, “Love, [line break] Your Momma, Crystal Downing-Powers.” Still, what mother uses her full name when addressing a child?
  4. This gem that is in no way something a grieving mother would say: “It is beyond disturbing that bought politicians think they can choose what gets injected into our children. They don’t care about your child’s health. Clearly many are dying and getting injured from these vaccines and they turn a blind eye.” County and State health concerns are usually based on scientific research and reviewed by doctors hired to do due diligence when recommending statewide vaccine and other medical guidelines. They certainly do care about health and are apolitical in their recommendations. Also, many are not dying or being injured from vaccines. The vast majority of vaccinated people lead healthy, happy lives free from the worry of catching a deadly disease.
  5. “There are a lot more parents out there like me. Some don’t come forward due to [sic] fact they are afraid of what people would say. Sometimes people can be really cruel and not understand what parents like me go through.” Besides that grammatically reading like a caveman grunted it out, it is clearly designed to throw down the conspiracy gauntlet. We are supposed to believe there is a vast sea of dead and injured children in America whose deaths are being covered up by Big Pharma. The same Big Pharma that profits less than a dollar per vaccination. Furthermore, we are to believe in this conspiracy because websites selling us homeopathic snake oils, gluten-free water substitutes, and Jenny McCarthy tee-shirts are telling use it’s all about the money. Well, that much I believe. Groucho Marx
  6. This shining star, off-set as its own paragraph in the middle of recounting the encounter with the doctor’s office, “I want to tell other parents, they say vaccinations are safe, but in reality, they aren’t.” Therein lies the crux of the article. It’s not about justice for a grieving family. It’s not about government incompetency. It’s not about medical malpractice. It’s about the dangers of vaccines. We are to believe that this family is not seeking justice for their son’s death. They just want to get the word out that vaccines are dangerous. Buy a bridge, anyone?

This story holds about as much water as Noah’s colander. It is a poorly, fictionalized account of an event that cannot be proven nor is any attempt made to prove the so-called facts presented. We all like a good story, especially when it reinforces our established beliefs. That is what this is, a story to give anti-vaxxers something to cite when they’re doing their “research.” It is less believable than Wakefield’s MMR-causes-autism report.

If you will excuse me, I have to go park my car in the huge holes in this article. If it turns out that I’m just an old, hardhearted, skeptical curmudgeon and I’m completely wrong about all this, I’ll eat a pizza.

Bonus clip:


If all that wasn’t enough, you can watch me rant about this on the Youtubes.

This story that predates the article in question by 2 months has eerily similar circumstances, but the setting is South Africa. Oddly, it was apparently reported by the same site, as the current story. and the original from

Posted in Health, Skeptic | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Talent Overload

Posted by theBarefoot on February 22, 2015

I don’t know how it started, but I’ve over-indulged on The Voice, X Factor, and ____’s Got Talent, videos on Youtube this weekend. I’ve never watched these shows on TV. I’ve only seen clips online. I know that they are designed to reinforce our worship of celebrity, but I discovered something just the opposite.

If you watch more than 10 of these clips, you soon realize that there is nothing special about the so-called celebrities we worship. There are people in your town who have amazing voices. Some exponentially better than people who regularly sell platinum albums. There are waiters and shoe salesmen who go home every night and belt out incredible covers of pop songs while vacuuming the rug or washing dishes.

And it’s not just singing voices. There are people next to you at stop lights or standing beside you on the subway who have untapped talents that would floor you. You may even be one of those people. Just because you never get to audition for American Idol doesn’t make your talent any less valuable than last season’s winner.

What I would urge everyone to do is stop blindly believing the cult of personality we’ve been taught to follow. Start getting to know the people you see everyday. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a hidden talent, share it where and when you can. Sing at the bus stop. Juggle for your nieces and nephews. Give a picture you paint to a friend or neighbor. Put yourself out there and share. We all have something we do well. Don’t hide it. Do it well for people you meet everyday.

Somewhere along the way, while chasing the odd, little happy, you’ll catch moments of unbridled joy.

Posted in Advice, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 960 other followers